Update: Category II abuse of officials for Antoine Vermette, so he will earn an automatic 10-game suspension pending appeal to Commissioner Gary Bettman. Gustav Nyquist's phone hearing will be at 1 p.m.
Poor Anthony LaPanta and Mike Greenlay.
They broadcast their first game for Fox Sports North in a week after three consecutive exciting Wild games were swiped by NBC, and they didn’t even get to call a Wild goal.
Poor Dave Simonett, the lead singer of Trampled By Turtles and Dead Man Winter. I’ve seen him work, often from backstage, two or three dozen times in concert, so I invited him up to the press box to see behind the scenes of what it’s like to cover a Wild game.
His first game of the season, and the big Wild fan didn’t even get to see a Wild goal or win.
For the first time in three months, the Wild had a victory stolen from them by an opposing goalie during a 1-0 loss at Xcel Energy Center to Bruce Boudreau’s old Ducks. The Wild has still not swept Anaheim in a season series.
As Boudreau said, it was a “valiant effort by the guys” in their attempt. But John Gibson made 37 saves for his 10th career shutout and fourth of the season.
The Wild dominated the first two periods (29-12 in shots). In fact, Anaheim’s one goal wouldn’t even be considered a scoring chance. After Charlie Coyle lost a puck in the offensive zone along the boards, Devan Dubnyk had trouble handling a shot from the side wall by Corey Perry in the Wild end.
The puck got to the net fast and fell in front of him off his pad. Joseph Cramarossa made a move to get loose of Nate Prosser, and whack – the only goal Anaheim would need.
The Wild had so many chances, but players either saw Gibson make the save, missed the net by inches, hit the post or couldn’t muscle their way to the puck as Anaheim did a great job in the slot and in front of the net, especially in a third period where the Ducks collapsed down low to protect Gibson.
Also, surprisingly, for the second Wild home game in a row, a normally mild-mannered player lost his cool and faces a long suspension. Sunday, it was Gustav Nyquist, who had 10 penalty minutes this season, trying to open up Jared Spurgeon’s head like a piñata.
Tonight, it was Antoine Vermette, whom I’ve had nothing but great experiences talking with, who lost his cool with rookie linesman Shandor Alphonso after Mikko Koivu’s faceoff win.
Maybe frustrated because Koivu dominated him in the circle tonight (Vermette, usually superb, was 6 for 17, Koivu was 20 for 26; not all against each other), Vermette chopped Alphonso in the back of the leg after he dropped the puck awkwardly, then snapped at him.
He was ejected for physical abuse of officials. Depending on the category filed after the game – we should find out Wednesday, and supervisor and former zebra Rob Shick was here to sort it out – Vermette faces a suspension of three, 10 or 20 games, pending appeal (probably 10 in this case).
Big no-no, and love tap or not, it can’t be done and it’s clear as day on video that he reacted angrily after the faceoff loss. The irony is Vermette takes draws from the Paul Gaustad school of faceoff taking -- all game, dropping to his knees after draws. It's absurd, and I've maintained for years the league needs to get rid of this tactic.
As for the Wild, I thought Gustav Olofsson played his best game with the Wild. Boudreau agreed. I thought Alex Tuch was soft on pucks, and Boudreau echoed what I said on Twitter, he can’t survive in this league unless he “increases his pace,” both with his skating and decision making.
Eric Staal (one goal, four assists in the past 15 games) is really pressing now. His overall game has taken a turn for the worse for awhile, and tonight you could see the frustration. Boudreau said it’s the first time he noticed Staal overextending shifts probably because this slump is starting to really bother him.
It was the Wild’s fifth regulation loss in the past 34 games, so Boudreau wasn’t about to read them the riot act afterward. Still, he was hardly happy.
But this was the first time in a long, long time the Wild had one of those games where it outplayed an opponent and lost. So it has earned the benefit of tossing this one in the garbage, regrouping at Wednesday’s practice and tying to rebound Thursday against Dallas.
The Wild hasn’t lost consecutive games in regulation since Nov. 1 and 5, so we’ll see if it can avoid that.
I am actually off Wednesday. Kent Youngblood is covering practice, so please follow @bloodstrib on Twitter.
We’ll see if Zack Mitchell (nine shifts, one shot) gets another game, or if he’s sent down and Jordan Schroeder draws in.
The Russo-Souhan Show will be at Hell’s Kitchen at 6 p.m. Come on down, please, but be sure to call for reservations.